The Warning Signs of a
Main Sewer Line Blockage

Your sewer line is one of the most vital parts of your plumbing system – and if it becomes damaged or clogged, it could wreak unwelcome issues on your property. Offset or damaged pipes could cost a lot to repair or replace. The sooner you detect a sewer line breakage or clog, the more likely it is you’ll be able to fix it without a huge hassle or cost. Damage tends to worsen over time.

Watch out for these warning signs that your sewer line might be blocked:


When you have a main sewer line problem, your sinks, toilets, floor drains, and other plumbing fixtures will drain slowly or not at all. Multiple fixtures may be affected by this problem. For instance, if you run the washing machine and the toilet overflows or the laundry room sink backs up, that’s a definite sign of a blockage somewhere in the drainpipes – after all, the water has to go somewhere.

Also, if you hear gurgling sounds when you flush that could be a sign of a blockage in the drain system. These noises may be an indication that tree roots are to blame for your blockage; root systems are one of the biggest culprits of main sewer line issues. So if you have a large tree near your sewer line, its roots could be the problem. This is particularly true if you have an older sewer made of clay or concrete because roots can work their way inside the pipe via the pipe joints. Tiny feeder roots find their way inside seeking moisture. Once inside, they will grow larger, acting as a net to catch toilet paper and waste until a clog forms.


If it seems you’re experiencing more toilet clogs than you used to, that’s an indication that the real clog problem might be farther downstream in your drainage system. The same is true with your kitchen sink. Is it clogging or running slowly more often than it used to? The fact is that if you have more than one slow drain in your house or multiple slow drains, that’s the best indicator that the source of the problem is a clogged sewer.


A sewer clog cannot be treated with a plunger or with over-the-counter chemicals. To clear the sewer line of roots and debris, professional cleaning is required with a heavy-duty drain machine. These electric drain and sewer cleaning machines have a strong, stiff steel cable with a sharp blade on its tip. The cable spins as it travels through the sewer pipe so it cuts away obstructions. It will even shave roots right down to the pipe walls to restore full flow in your sewer pipe. If the Roto-Rooter machine can’t get through the pipe, your service technician can request a video camera inspection of the sewer pipeline to ascertain where the blockage is and its cause. A trained eye will then be able to recommend repair options to the homeowner.

Moving Forward

Always keep an eye (and an ear) out on your plumbing system. It’s best to try to stop an issue before it becomes a large problem. Paying close attention to your system will also save you money in the long run. Never try to fix an issue unless you are sure your solution will not do more harm than good. When in doubt, hire a professional!

Contact Us

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